So clearly I suck but whatever!
Anyways, it’s been so busy the last few months. I’m pretty sure if you’re reading this you know who I am and know what I’ve been up to despite me not having updated my blog. In any case here’s what’s been up with me this summer:
Seriously… it’s insane. I used to have time to check my email or the news at work but not anymore. I go go go nonstop from usually around 1-10 pm.
I got my new classes for the semester that started September 2. I’m teaching 4 of the 6 Nokjiwon classes, who are the top level in our academy, 2 JB classes, who are low-average, and 1 JI class who is smack dab in the middle of everything. It’s been a real challenge. There are a lot of new kids to the Nokjiwon classes, so I have to really help them along with the new method of doing things. Also, there’s a new teacher teaching AO (Nokjiwon) with me this semester, so I’m afraid I haven’t been doing that good of a job helping her! Between the new teacher at our campus, the tasks we’ve been given and all the little extra things I do around campus, I haven’t had much time for someone who’s been at our campus already, even though I should be helping her more… (sorry Karis!!) The JB classes I teach are hit and miss. Sometimes they’re great, and sometimes they make me want to shove sharp things in my eyes. My JI kids are lovely, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
It’s been exhausting, honestly, but very rewarding. When a student finally gets a concept, or correctly uses a grammar point we’ve been going over without realizing it, it is a huge sense of accomplishment both for them, and for me! And although I’ve been exhausted, truly, I’ve heard from several people that all the students love me and that I’m such a great teacher. While I’m not in this job for the compliments (being a teacher is in general a job that is taken advantage of, in my opinion) it feels great to hear that I’m doing well.
2. I have and will be travelling!
I went to Taiwan in August! It was amazing. The city itself is bustling and wonderful, and the outskirts and towns around Taipei are so beautiful and lush. I can’t say enough good things about it. If you want to see some more pictures, you can at my photography blog, www.amandasladephotography.tumblr.com.
I went by myself! People kept telling me I was crazy, but I really loved it. Don’t get me wrong - I enjoy travelling with people, too. But it’s a fantastic feeling to get up in a hostel in the middle of a place you don’t know, and explore. Doing whatever you feel like, without anyone objecting or having to be in agreement on anything. I wanted to go for poutine one night, so I did. End of story.
I will also be going back home at the end of September!!! I’m so ecstatic. I can’t wait to see my family and friends and all of the sights I’ve missed around the coast. I can’t wait to sit on a bench at Kits beach…. maybe have Sunday (or Saturday) Funday with my best friends who I haven’t seen in over a year. I’m going on a mini road trip with my sisters and mom through western Canada, and it’s going to be amazing. I can’t wait to spend some quality time with them.
Also… FOOD. I have to make a list of things I want to eat/buy to bring home while I’m there. People at work want ranch, so I’m going to get some of that, and I have some things I want to buy so I can really start cooking at my house. I cook now, but theres some things that I haven’t been able to cook because……
3. I’ve lost 30 pounds!
This one I guess really starts more around March than just in the summer. I don’t know if it’s really all that noticeable though, because no one’s really said anything to me unless I mention it first. It doesn’t bother me, because I’m not doing it because I want people to notice, but to get more healthy, which I feel!
I don’t want to get into too much detail about it, but I’ve been eating pretty strictly and exercising a lot! Going on 6 K runs a lot… except today. I dunno, we’re all entitled to our bad days right? Thats what I keep telling other people, so I guess it has to apply for me too. I read something for motivation that said 1: Don’t go for 3 days without going for a run and 2: Always run on Mondays. Sooo I went out to go for a run but just couldn’t. I dunno, my legs were falling asleep and I just didn’t have the stamina I normally do. So I went halfway and turned around. At least I went out, so I’m happy with that.
I guess that’s about it! Maybe I’ll update more later! You should check out my photography blog to see what’s going on, because I update that more often :)
Up until now time has flown by for me. Every month I say to myself “Geez, the month’s almost over! Where has time gone?!” but this month has just dragged on. Maybe it’s been because of the increased work, maybe cause my best bud is leaving at the end of this month, but for whatever reason, this month just won’t end.
I did some good things this month; explored Korea a bit more, made a presentation for new teachers, and welcomed our own first batch of new teachers. I went out for some great dinners with friends, saw my first baseball game and went to my first korean wedding.
I’ve been super busy! It’s not all bad, other than the giant amount of increased work this month. I can’t say it was a bad month… but just… for some reason it won’t end. I wish it would. I want more exciting things to happen.
It’s a funny thing, teaching here. We are brought here as foreigners to expose the kids to real English speaking, and real foreigners. This is supposed to ready them for their future studies abroad or at least just to enhance their skills to a level that would rival a native speaker, or in some cases, exceed them. We have to be seen as friendly people and be good examples of foreign people and the English language. They associate their a lot of their enjoyment of English by how we behave.
Now, this being said, a lot of the time they children do not give us the same respect as they give our Korean cohorts. It is a constant battle for me to engage the kids, and ensure that all work is completed, without turning them off of English. For this reason, any behavioural problems or homework issues I encounter go through my Korean co-teacher. They are better able to communicate the problem effectively (through their own native language) and I can remain the “good guy” in the classroom. This has two ramifications: my students have a natural respect for their Korean teacher that I don’t get, and my Korean co-teacher has more responsibility (in this regard). Often, this leads to the feeling (at least in my case) that my classes are not my own, and I’m here merely as a prop to be used for demonstrations (true enough to a certain extent).
I feel as though I should preface my next point: This isn’t always a common occurrence, and for me, it has only become a problem the last couple weeks. However, when a Korean teacher speaks down to a foreign staff member (like me) in front of students, it multiplies these effects. The students see that the Korean teacher “has power” over the foreign staff member, and they adopt this idea into their own behaviours. This leads to misbehaviours in class and a lack of respect, which is already much lower than that of the Korean teacher. They don’t think that they have to obey my requests as long as they are doing well in the Korean teacher’s class. It makes my life, for a lack of a better word, absolute hell. I lose control in my classroom and respect from my students. They tell us in our training sessions that our classes are just as important (if not more important by the parents’ standards) as the Korean teachers and that we need to feel responsible for our students successes and failures.
Besides this, there needs to be a certain reciprocity between teachers who share a class. As a foreign teacher, I’m expected to give daily behavioural reports to my co-teacher, as well as weekly reports on their performance in both Speaking and Writing classes. I think this is a healthy amount of communication between me and my co-teacher. I can let them know immediately when I have problems with a student’s behaviour, and every week I can let them know if progress has been made, or what areas we should start to focus on. Although I prefer to do most of this communication face to face in a conversation, I can understand how paperwork might help them keep track of what I’m saying, and give them time to digest and interpret my notions.
However, as far as paperwork goes, this communication is completely one sided. My co-teachers give me no form of written communiqué, nor do they give me acknowledgement of my written suggestions, unless I confront them to discuss it. This is a major reason why I prefer to have discussions with my co-teachers instead of relying on paperwork. I feel like I am being listened to, and that progress is actually made. I have often seen teachers glance at my paperwork for 10 seconds before throwing it into the recycling bin. This leads me to believe that what I’m being asked to do is time consuming work which is utterly useless. It becomes very frustrating.
I realize that the Korean teachers I work with are very hard working. It’s in the culture to be diligent and strive for excellence. I appreciate the work they do. I would not like to call mothers every day. However, I feel that while their work is useful, our work is beginning to be pointless and work for the sake of work. So let’s see what I have to do every week.
I have around 60 students.
Every day I have to have 5 minute conversations with 3 students.
Every day I have to write a 1 page letter to 4 students.
Every day I have to write behaviour reports for 4-6 students for each of my 4 classes. (16-24 comments)
Every day I have to send a positive text message to 10 students.
Once a week I have to write a comment for each student for speaking and writing. (120 comments)
Once a week I have to do a self evaluation where I watch a recording of my class and write comments on myself.
This is on top of the lesson planning, online homework checking, and a full class schedule.
I had to write a weekly “to do” list with things for me to cross off each day, so I can make sure I don’t forget, because all of these things, much of which I deem absolutely ludicrous, are just becoming too much to remember.
Meh! This is how it goes. I’m ok with that.
So my co-friend Ashley went on vacation this week, so it was nuts in the office. We all already have full schedules so it resulted in combining classes, and losing some old classes and gaining new classes for the week. It was exhausting. Hopefully it’ll be my turn sometime…. we’ll see :)
So I got a bike! Sunday <3 I love it! So far I’ve only really ridden it to and from work, but a coworker or two has suggested we go out for bike rides, seeing as the weather has gotten better!
Oh, and I’ve ridden it to the gym. Yeah. To the gym. The gym. THE GYM. It’s been lame and cool at the same time. I’ve been going really regularly at least 3 times a week, sometimes 4. Each sesh is 3 hours. It’s hell. Except… THERES A DANCE CLASS… I love it. This cute Korean man comes in and teaches us dances to Kpop videos. Thankfully my Korean co-friend Boreum comes with me, so if anything goes wrong/I need to ask a question she’s there! Anyways, we just learned the dance to Girls Day “Expect”… It’s hilarioius. Check it out.
Anywhoo Easter weekend! Thinking of and sending love to my family <3. It’s been really fantastic being here so far, but also really tough sometimes to be away.
So….. yeah, I kinda knew this would happen…. and I was doing so well before! Well… maybe this is a good thing right? Forgetting to write about how miserable I am because of my jerk classes must only mean that I have only good classes that I love, right? Well, not entirely, but let’s go with that.
It’s been as cold as I’ve ever felt (around -22 was the lowest I think) and there’s been a fair bit of snow, which has been fun.
In the works: Japan weekend trip Mar 1-3….. thats about it. I still have to figure out where/when I want to take my real vacation… there are potential plans being made for first week of June, but not sure yet!
I got an iPhone, and it’s love.
It’s almost the end of intensives. Intensives were this big black hole of self pity and early hours. In actuality, towards the end I must say that I have come to enjoy the early hours (and early getting off work). Working 9:50-6 isn’t so bad. The problem with intensives is that they’re so unpredictable with your hours to start…. like … I work 9:50-8:30 on thursdays. LAME! Anyways, intensives end at the end of this week, so next week it’s back to 2-10pm.
That is all for now.
So this is why I never keep a journal, or write a blog…. because I always forget about it. Anyways, life has been pretty alright. Hahaha…. convincing, I know.
Work is decent! I love my new classes (all the demon grade 6 students that made my life miserable are gone). I’m ahead as it is right now in all my paperwork and random assignments. So that’s good.
Making more friends! Makes me happy, but it still makes me wonder, how do adults make friends? It’s such a weird concept. In school there were always classmates, but I find as an adult, other than work, meeting people is so awkward and weird. Don’t get me wrong — I adore a lot of my coworkers, and love to see them outside of work. However, I want to expand my horizons too! Talk to more people about more than work. We’ll see how it goes.
It’s cold here. Really cold. I mean really, really cold. Like the coldest I’ve ever felt cold. It’s been hanging around -10 here lately and getting colder! Egads.
I have been struggling with the idea of getting a pet. I don’t anticipate that my stay in Korea will be permanent, so getting an animal wouldn’t really be fair if I were to just pass it on when I left, so I decided to pet sit! When other people go on vacation I will watch their kitties or puppies. I’m sitting my first pet (a kitty…) starting this Saturday for a week! I’m very excited and it means I won’t be completely alone over the holidays.
So it’s Thursday. In my first class, which I love, we had a great time. We talked about bartering and I tried to convince them to trade their pencil cases for my book. It was very funny. I hope that this class stays together, but as Saturdays are being abolished at school, not sure if this class will remain in tact. In this class… there are three boys Jonbiesus (John) [this one might require a little more explanation, because the way they say “zombie” sounds like “johnbie” … and they often write it with a j. no relaton to Jesus], Mobile Phone (Matthew) and Donkey (Danny). They all picked their own names. The last few classes, Johnbiesus and Mobile Phone have been away! So I’ve decided to call Donkey “Mobile Donkeybiesus”. This is fun.
Bad classes up next. Ain’t no problem. I am just not going to worry about it.